Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick and easy meals, and a random moth

I don't always have 2.5 hours to cook a duck... sometimes I do things that are quick and easy, or that can be prepped ahead of time.  Here's a few that I made recently, with limited photos.

Buffalo wings

I found some chicken wings on sale recently, which I don't think I've ever cooked before.  (When I say I found meat "on sale" I almost always mean the use-or-freeze-by date was 1 or 2 days away so it was heavily discounted.  This often happens with meat that people aren't sure what to do with, like turkey necks, or that ground beef-pork-veal mixture that makes THE BEST meatloaf).

I used Alton Brown's recipe for buffalo wings.  Well, I used the technique anyway... for the sauce I mixed roughly equal parts of Frank's Red Hot and melted unsalted butter (I finally figured out where to find the Kerrygold in Wegmans!).  Just going by what I remember from working the grill at Crossroads back in the day.  =]

The key is steaming the wings for 10 minutes, then letting them cool/dry in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Heck, you could steam them in the morning before work, then leave them to cool until you get home.  They take 40 minutes of roasting time, but it's pretty hands-off, so you can still lift weights or play Starcraft.  Or whatever it is YOU do in the evenings.  They came out great - even Husband, who doesn't like meat on bones so much, said they were good.  They do get a crispy skin as if they were fried, and they were more moist inside than most commercial wings.  Heck, I'd consider paying full price for chicken wings just to do this again!

Freshly-steamed chicken wings.

Sorry I have no pictures of the finished product, this was back when I wasn't sure if i'd ever be able to get them off my camera.  I served them with Steamy Kitchen's Kale-llaloo.  This was fantastic!  It's basically the same as my usual kale "recipe" but with added coconut milk... but that coconut milk adds a perfect amount of sweetness.  I cooked it a lot longer than 5 minutes at the end, until the sauce had thickened.

Mexican beef

I threw a chuck roast into the crock pot (still frozen, even!) and added onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and taco seasoning mix, and cooked on low most of the day.  When I got home, I shredded the meat, and served it two ways:

For Husband, in tortillas with sour cream and salsa.
For me, in a bowl, with sour cream, salsa, and avocado.


My favorite kitchen item (a Le Creuset 3.5 quart braiser/casserole in cassis) is awesome for making frittatas!  And frittatas are an awesome way of using up leftovers.  If you don't have a pan that can be used both on the stove and in the oven, you can cook the fillings and mix them with the eggs in a baking dish - but that takes a lot longer to cook, and maybe would be better described as a crustless quiche.  So you should probably just go out and get yourself a cheap cast iron skillet.

The method:
  • Cook/heat meats and veggies in the pan - drain if it gets too liquidy.
  • Add egg mixture.
  • Cook until most of it is set, but the top is still runny.
  • Add cheese if desired.
  • Throw under the broiler until fully cooked and browned.
This particular frittata had bacon, leftover pork, onions, and lots of shredded zucchini.  Too much zucchini, in fact - it didn't hold together very well.  Seasonings included garlic, chili powder, ground mustard, seasoned salt, and pepper.  I topped it with thinly sliced tomato and a teeny bit of parmesan cheese.  These pictures were taken with the phone.

Cooked meat and veggies.
Isn't it pretty?
Closeup - a little messy looking.

Not food...

While I'd make an exception for Diana's mealworm cookies, I don't think of insects as food.  This moth was hanging out on my window at work (yes, all the way up on the 4th floor!).  He refused to open his wings whenever I put my phone up to take a picture.  But I enjoy the blurry view of the east side of campus behind him.

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